Others Centered


Photo courtesy of Abigail Pywtorak

Taken at The Master’s University

Abigail Pywtorak, Writer

Just a few weeks ago, I sat in the bleachers of Bross gym and listened to a sermon given by Pastor Brian Hughes on the topic of love. Much of what I heard caused me to wince internally. The circumstances that followed that day only highlighted my own selfishness and lack of love. I found myself jealous when I learned that some of my friends had made it into the Disney Blend when I had not qualified the year before. I also found myself envious when a couple of my friends could laugh and share their struggles in regards to boys and I could not. By the end of the day, I was truly convicted by the ugliness of my sin and found myself seeking God’s forgiveness.

Perhaps like me you struggle with selfishness and a lack of true love. I know I do. Since that Friday, I have been wondering how I can overcome my own tendency toward the sin of selfishness. One thing that has become clear to me is that I cannot love others if I love myself more.

Philippians 2:3-4 stresses the point that as believers we must, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” So, the question is this:  How as believers can we put others before ourselves and kill our self-centered hearts?

Years ago, before I came to Master’s, I worked at a grocery store bagging customers’ various items and keeping the store tidy. I soon discovered that I could not love the people I worked with like I was supposed to. Some of my co-workers scorned my faith or were rude to me. When this happened, I would have to bite my tongue, but inside a war was raging. I began to turn to the Lord and ask Him to help me love Him more so that I could in turn love the people I worked with more.

You see, I learned a valuable lesson during my time there.  It is impossible to love other people (whether they are kind or cruel) if you aren’t filled with God’s love. The only way you or I can follow the command in the above passage is by humbly asking God to fill us to overflowing with his love. Here is the encouraging reality, though. The Lord told the twelve men with Him in John 13:35 that their love for each other would prove to the world that they were truly His disciples!

Friend, when you are filled with God’s love and you truly love those around you, everyone is going to look at you and know you are a disciple of Christ. Even people who might despise you because of your faith will have to admit that you love God. What an amazing opportunity we have! Being unselfish is really a chance, then, to mirror the love of God to a world that does not know what true, unselfish love looks like. Though sometimes it may be difficult to really love someone selflessly and put their needs ahead of your own, don’t forget that this honors God and proves to everyone else that you are a follower of Christ.